How to Apply Nail Art Decals. Once you begin applying nail art, you may want to wear it for every occasion. Luckily, there are enough designs available to last you all year round.

Apply Water Set Decals

Use scissors to cut your nail art decal out around the design.

Place a single drop of water onto the table.

Set your nail decal in the drop of water with the blue paper side down.

Wait for 10-15 seconds. The paper will begin to curl.

Pick up the nail decal using your tweezers and lay the nail decal on top of your nail.

Use one finger to anchor the nail decal lightly against your nail and slide out the backing paper from underneath.

Move the decal into place. Using a piece of tissue, press the nail decal to remove the water and air below.

Wait one to two seconds while the decal adheres to the nail.

Apply a thin layer or topcoat to the decal area. Allow it to dry.

Brush on another layer of topcoat to cover the entire nail and allow it to dry.

Apply Rubber Decals

Choose a quick-dry base coat and brush one coat onto all your nails.

Choose your nail polish color and stroke on one coat.

Wait until your nail polish dries and then apply another thin coat.

Allow your second coat of polish to dry before proceeding with your nail decals.

Remove your decal from the backing plastic with tweezers.

Lay your decal on the chosen nail.

Tap your decal lightly to ensure that there are no air pockets. Use an orangewood stick.

Apply a thick layer of top coat polish to your nails to seal your work. Allow it to dry.

Apply Full Sheet Nail Decals

Brush on a single layer of base coat and allow it to dry.

Stroke one layer of your preferred polish over the base coat. Once dry, apply the second coat.

Trim your nail decal to fit your nail and remove it from the design sheet.

Rub over the design using an orangewood stick, and keep the backing on until finished. You'll see the transfer is complete when the paper peels up without any decal on it.

Peel off the sheet and examine your nails.

Use your finger to press down any edges that haven't adhered completely.

File the edges of any nail decals that extend past the edge of your nails.

Brush on a topcoat to protect your nail decal and allow it to dry.


Avoid quick-dry topcoats, which contain solvents that may damage your nail decal. Use caution when placing your nail decal. It you press it down on tacky nail polish, it can cause the polish underneath to become uneven.